Homophobia and Transphobia in Sport

17th May 2019

Homophobia and Transphobia in Sport

Results of EU-wide survey on direct experiences of LGBTI people in sport.

Almost 90% of participants consider homophobia and transphobia in sport to be a current problem. More than 5,500 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersexual (LGBTI) people from all 28 EU countries completed the online survey created by the Institute of Sociology and Gender Studies of the German Sport University Cologne as part of the EU wide Outsport project.

LEAP Sports welcome the results of the study as the most significant findings on the subject since the Scotland specific Out for Sport research back in 2012. Executive Director Hugh Torrance said “The results of this survey are an important contribution towards our understanding of LGBTI-phobia within sport, and the LEAP Sports team will use these findings to develop our work within Scottish sport”.  Key findings of the study are:

  • Almost 90% consider homophobia and particularly transphobia in sport to be a current problem.
  • 20% of LGBTI people refrain from participating in their sport of choice which is especially high for trans people (54%).
  • One third of respondents who are active in sports have not revealed their sexual orientation or gender identity to anybody in their sport.
  • 16% of respondents who are currently active in any sports have had at least one negative personal experience in the last 12 months that was related to their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is significantly higher among trans people — especially among trans women (46%).
  • Verbal insults (82%) and structural discrimination (75%) were the most common forms of homo-/transphobic incidents indicated. Verbal threats (44%), e-bullying (40%), physically “crossing the line” (i.e. being shoved and/or pushed) (36%) and physical violence (20%) are also common experiences.
  • More than a third of respondents do not know who to contact in instances of being discriminated against in a sports context.
  • The three actions cited by respondents to be helpful to tackle homo-/transphobic discrimination in the field of sport: (a) the coming out of famous sports stars, (b) high profile anti-homophobia/transphobia campaigns and (c) diversity training.

The complete report — which you can download here — contains the aggregated data results at EU level, highlighting differences regarding sexual orientation and gender identity between the five project countries (Italy, Germany, Scotland, Hungary and Austria). The report thus offers a rich and wide perspective of homo-/transphobia in sport, in different sport disciplines and environments - as lived, experienced and perceived by LGBTI people.

The next stage of the research is currently in process, with sport organisations and federations being interviewed about their strategies in tackling homo-/transphobic discrimination in the field of sport. LEAP Sports will also conduct further analysis ofon the Scottish data and explore the findings in context. The ‘Scottish Report’ will be ready alongside the full results which will be published on the 8th of November 2019 and launched at the final Outsport Conference in Budapest. 

You can read more about the project here.

Written on 17th May 2019.